The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has filed a lawsuit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and its well known County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, for his refusal to hand over documents in the DOJ’s long running civil rights probe. The complaint alleges that the Sheriff’s Office is in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by refusing to fully cooperate with the DOJ’s investigation into the Sheriff’s Office’s police practices and jail operations.

The DOJ’s investigation into the Sheriff dates back to the Bush Administration, which started investigating allegations of civil rights violations by the Sheriff’s Office in June 2008. The investigation has focused on allegations that the Sheriff’s Office violated Title VI’s prohibition on national origin discrimination by engaging in a pattern or practice of discriminatory law enforcement conduct.

The DOJ’s lawsuit is the most recent in a series of immigration-related lawsuits filed this year in the federal district court in Arizona. (See Another Lawsuit Filed Challenging Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070.) Following enactment of the highly controversial Senate Bill 1070, at least six separate lawsuits were filed in federal court challenging Senate Bill 1070 on a variety of bases. On July 28, Judge Susan Bolton enjoined several provisions of the Bill. The State of Arizona immediately appealed Judge Bolton’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal is currently pending.

Finally, the case challenging the Legal Arizona Workers Act (the 2008 bill that established the requirement that all Arizona employers use E-Verify for all new hires) is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Jackson Lewis will let you know when the Court issues its decision in that case.